The natural world often relies on processes that are not immediately apparent to us. Even if such a behind‐the‐scenes process is well researched, that research might have little effect if the public does not learn about it. This article describes my experience researching the important relationship between small mammals, mycorrhizal fungi, and forest health and then describes the outreach program I conducted on this topic. With a research team from the University of New Hampshire and funded by a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), I observed the movement and diet patterns of seven rodent species at the Dartmouth College Woodland. Our research showed that rodents carried truffle spores from the established woods into regenerating sections of forest, which needed to establish relationships with the fungi in order to grow and thrive. To extend my summer field research and to apply my studies as an outdoor education major, I created an experiential outreach program to educate the public and show them how they can help to maintain forest health. The engagement of participants, their feedback at the end of the program, and their ability to discuss what they had learned made the outreach program a success.
UNH Undergraduate Research Journal
Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire
Azen, Samm, "Connecting Rodents to Our Roots: A Journey into Education and Outreach" (2019). Inquiry Journal. 14.